My first Korean sentence – I love monkeys!

I taught myself to read Hangul in the first few months here.  I can now read with about 70% accuracy.  I mix up vowels a lot but am confident that will come with more practice.

I started a Korean Class last week and am getting the textbook next week.  Its been helpful with learning basic grammar even though I’ve only had 2 classes.  Plus it forces me to actually take notes and practice while having a venue for practicing my pronunciation without a Korean friend laughing.

I also plan to attend a coffee house language exchange on Mondays where we just talk in different languages.  Next week is my second time!

That being said the most exciting part is that I just figured out how to type in 한굴 (Hangul) on my keyboard!  The first thing I wrote (largely due to my limited vocab from my notes) was

나는 원송이를 사랑행요 (I love monkeys)

Its pronounced roughly Nanun uen song ee ruel sarang haangyo.  Note that in Korean you say the sentence “Subject, Object, Verb” so that translates directly to “I monkey love”

Whats your favorite animal?  Any other ridiculous sentences I should translate for practice?

LanguageCast A language exchange from

Monday at work my coworker, Sara, invited me to join her at a “meetup.”  For those of you that don’t know is a social network where people can plan events with a variety of purposes.  I’ve heard of it but this was my first experience with it.  It was listed as a “language exchange” with 38 people attending at a coffee/tea shop in Hongdae.


We hopped on the subway after grabbing some tempura and got to Hongdae by around 7:00.  We easily found Chloris Tea & Coffee and went upstairs to see a crowded room.  We ordered tea and grabbed some of the last vacant seats next to a solitary Korean girl.

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My first Korean Class

After an awful day at work I was happy to join my first Korean class through CulCom (Culture Community).  It was just 2 subway stops past my apartment and although I was late from talking with my principal I caught right up.

The first class consisted solely of the Korean alphabet, Hangul.  I had already studied this on my own and was able to read most words (even if it was beneath a Kindergarten pace).  In spite of my previous knowledge I found this class quite helpful because I got practice writing with immediately feedback on my pronunciation.

Owen, my teacher and the leader of CulCom, did a great job explaining some of the harder sounds and I think I actually understand the double letters now!  There are a few general rules about which vowels can be paired with others to make a double vowel and we went through the actual name of each letter.  Suddenly our class was over and it was time for me to meet my Korean students.

At CulCom you get “free” Korean lessons but need to stay and teach English to a small group of Koreans.  I didn’t mind, especially when I found out all I do is sit there and help them understand the few pages provided by CulCom.  My group had two girls: Raan & Lydia, and four boys: myself, KJ, Sam and another gentleman who didn’t join us for dinner & drinks where I learned everyone’s name (sorry for misspelling the names!).

Speaking of dinner and drinks, the chicken, mekju and games were the best part of my day.  I definitely needed some relaxation after such a crappy day and was happy to teach everyone Kings.  They loved it and I realized how useful it was for their English practice.  They had to practice rhyming, categories, saying “never have I evers” and more.  Maybe I can turn this into a classroom friendly game somehow?

Before we finished the deck Owen strolled in and grabbed a shot glass for soju.  Fried chicken arrived while we were chowing down on the banchan in between turns.  We quickly finished kings and they taught me an updated version of Daegi.  Instead of simply saying Daegi however many times you had to say someone’s name and a number; they had to repeat their name the appropriate number of times in tempo with their claps before saying another name and number.

We played a few rounds before they ordered another dish.  It came with cold noodles, a ton of spicy red sauce, veggies and

“What is that?” I asked.

“sea bugs? No that’s not it,” they said.
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